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WOMEN’S PRISON

Iran, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Emergence)

Director: Manijeh Hekmat

Manijeh Hekmat's debut feature is an impassioned drama, set over 17 years, following the intricate relationship between a warden and inmate in a Tehran women's prison.

After a riot breaks out, a new head warden, the devoutly religious Tahereh, arrives to quell the growing discontent. Her unfairly tough stance riles Mitra, serving a life sentence for killing her stepfather in order to save her mother, and the two women begin a battle of wills that lasts for nearly two decades.

Director Manijeh Hekmat spent over two years visiting jails and talking to inmates before having more than 40 different meetings, over three months, with authorities to gain access to an actual jail in which to film. To complicate matters further she was disallowed the required director's permit from the Iranian Society of Film Directors, eventually using her husband's name to obtain the permit. A courageous and important film.

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